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May 9, 2012 |  1 comment |  Print | E-Mail Atlantic Faces  

Daniel W. Hamilton, Director of the Center for Transatlantic Relations at SAIS

Dr. Daniel Hamilton is the Richard von Weizsäcker Professor and Director of the Center for Transatlantic Relations at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Johns Hopkins University, named by Foreign Policy magazine as one of the "Top 30 Global Go-To Think Tanks" in 2009.

He also serves as Executive Director of the American Consortium for EU Studies, designated by the European Commission as the EU Center of Excellence Washington, DC. 

1. What are your current priorities in your work as Director of the Center
for Transatlantic Relations at the School of Advanced International Studies?

We are engaged in a variety of research and policy-related efforts addressing contemporary challenges in Europe and the transatlantic relationship. Together with a network of other think tanks we have released two studies addressing the future of NATO and how to forge a more strategic US-EU partnership. We recently completed an ambitious project on how the US and the EU can cooperate more effectively in humanitarian assistance. We have also just released our annual survey on the Transatlantic Economy, which offers the most up-to-date information on jobs, trade and investment between Europe and all 50 US states, and this year includes information on how key European and American city-regions are connected economically across the Atlantic.

In addition to hosting a variety of transatlantic leaders and various conferences, in our current work we are:

  • addressing the impact of the Lisbon Treaty on transatlantic relations;
  • completing an independent analysis of Europe's global competitiveness in light of the EU 20/20 Strategy;
  • launching a new initiative on US relations with Central Europe, including new resident fellowship opportunities for European scholars;
  • conducting a foresight project on the deep structural trends likely to affect Europe and the US over the next 10-15 years;
  • tackling transatlantic security challenges, including NATO and the OSCE;
  • advancing a US-EU project on more effective collaboration in fighting terrorism; advancing economic integration; developing foreign policy cooperation; and identifying opportunities in green technology collaboration;
  • organizing a regular German-American Editors Program bringing together leading journalists from regional print and online news organizations;
  • and leading the "Enabling Technology Coalition," a collaborative grouping of scholars, businesses, NGOs and government officials examining how enabling technologies may contribute to market growth in the areas of health; the low-carbon economy; education; and governance.

2. What is the greatest challenge to the transatlantic relationship today?

Each side continues to take the other for granted, which means that we consistently fail to harness the full potential of transatlantic collaboration to address common challenges, from economic and financial crises and energy sustainability to conflict management and prevention. Currently too many voices can be heard that consider the other side of the Atlantic to be a rather dysfunctional partner. Others go further, arguing that the other side of the Atlantic is in fact in secular decline, and that the consequence should be to invest political energy in other relationships. These views are not only short-sighted, they shortchange fundamental US and European interests. The essential challenge is to recognize what remains distinctive about this relationship, as well as how it must be adapted to deal with contemporary challenges.  By any objective measure our societies are more deeply intertwined today than at the end of the Cold War. When we agree across the Atlantic, we almost always form the core of any effective global coalition. When we disagree, we almost always stop such coalitions from being effective. So the relationship is indispensable -- but in today's world it is also insufficient. While ensuring that our own partnership is strong, we must engage other actors on a range of issues that neither of us will be able to address alone.

3. How can Europe and North America forge a more effective partnership?

First by recognizing the distinctive nature of our relationship and reaching out to incorporate a range of emerging powers into our rules-based international order, as I mentioned above.

Second by retooling the mechanisms of our cooperation - NATO, the US-EU relationship, the OSCE, and our bilateral ties - to address future challenges rather than dwell on the past. NATO needs a new balance between its home and away missions, as outlined in our report Alliance Reborn; the US-EU relationship must be more strategic in areas ranging from resilience/justice and home affairs and crisis management to economic growth, energy sustainability, as outlined in our report Shoulder to Shoulder; and we must devise strategies to advance our joint interest in stabilizing wider Europe, beyond NATO and the EU. this requires a new consensus on how to work with Russia. Unfortunately, in this area, as in others, the difficulty is not due to differences between an "American" and a "European" view, but on the lack of consensus in Europe. Whether Americans have the patience to work with a fragmented Europe, and whether Europeans have the will to forge a more coherent approach to many issues, is an open question. We have an opportunity right now to recast our partnership for the better. It is a moment to use or to lose.


Unregistered User

Thu, Jun 10th 2010, 17:52

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I like this comment! What's this?
Shouldn't that be called "Millstone to Shoulder"? I can't see the EU or their member states going along with more than 3 or 4 of the 10 initiatives outlined.

- Half of the items in the "transatlantic pledge" will succumb immediately to greed.
- "Global governance", once people understand what it's defined by, will detest the idea as a abbrogation of their voting power as individuals, and of their soverignty.
- Energy sustainability will occur without the high-minded prodding of governments.
- Complete a Europe: The Europeans will not embolden any nation that rubs Russia in any way.
- Even the NATO-focussed think tanks think that NATO should evolove into just another talking shop, and not even pretend to be in that scary, scarey deterrence business.
- The Europeans would never really act decisively to prevent the development of WMDs. As it is, they're prepared to wave a sheet of paper in the air in the fashion of Neville Chamberlain if the Iranians ever signed anything, even if they know it will be ignored.

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